The Oklahoma Department of Human Services, in partnership with Tom Ward, and White Fields Inc., a home for boys, is taking an innovative technological approach to improving child protection. DHS is piloting a predictive analytics tool from Eckerd Kids, called Eckerd Rapid Safety FeedbackTM. The software works with the child welfare data system and flags open cases that have high risk factors that have been associated with child tragedies.
“Eckerd’s ERSF tool has shown some promising results in Florida preventing tragedies in open child welfare cases as well as improving the quality of casework,” said DHS Director Ed Lake. “Because we have added so many new positions in child welfare thanks to additional funding, the majority of our front-line workers have an average of less than 2 years of experience on the job. While the results from the tool are neither foolproof nor take the place of considered judgments of front-line DHS staff and other professionals, we believe this software will add an extra layer of protection for the children we serve by helping our workers focus special attention on those families with high risk factors.”
DHS is currently piloting the software in Oklahoma County but hopes to expand its use statewide. The software was provided at no cost to DHS thanks to private funding from Ward in partnership with Eckerd Kids.
“This tool proves to be an innovative method of learning from the past to find ways to make better present and future child protective decisions,” said David Dennis, Eckerd Kids President and CEO, and native Oklahoman.
“Safety for our state’s most vulnerable children is a collective responsibility. We are pleased to partner with Eckerd to bring this necessary and effective tool to Oklahoma with the intent that it may save lives,” said Tom L. Ward, Co-founder of White Fields.
About Eckerd Rapid Safety FeedbackTM:
Eckerd Kids has taken a technology approach to learning from fact patterns that exist within child welfare data. Since 2010, Eckerd has been working with software and data analytics company, Mindshare Technology, to develop this predictive analytics tool that identifies child welfare cases with characteristics associated with a high probability of serious injury or death to a child. Once cases are flagged, child welfare quality assurance staff then works with the front line to develop a safety plan to lessen risks and prioritize tasks related to the case.
ERSF was launched in January 2013 in Hillsborough County Florida and has been expanded to the other two counties in Florida, Pinellas and Pasco, where Eckerd serves as the community-based care lead agency. Eckerd serves more than 6,000 children in all three counties and has reported no child deaths in Hillsborough or Pinellas counties since RSF has been implemented. There has been one child death in an open case in Pasco. Their system has also seen a 23 percent improvement in the quality of home visits, supervisory reviews, quality and follow-up on cases and communication with stakeholders.
Besides Oklahoma, Eckerd Rapid Safety Feedback TM is being deployed in Maine, Connecticut, Alaska and Illinois.
The Chronicle of Social Change, an online publication, has featured several articles on predictive analytics tools and how states are using them in the work of child protection. This publication wrote in 2014 about the potential of Eckerd Rapid Safety FeedbackTM and called it “a huge deal for the business of child welfare”. The Potential of Rapid Safety Feedback - The Chronicle of Social Change
The Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board referred to RSF as a “potentially major payoff”.
Casey Family Programs, a national non-profit dedicated to improving and ultimately preventing the need for foster care around the country, is working on an independent evaluation of the RSF tool and included information about it in their annual report http://www.casey.org/hope/#the-stars-aligned
Additional articles/stories featuring predictive analytics tools in child protection:
Chronicle of Social Change
Connecticut - http://www.cribsforkids.org/2015/05/11/connecticut-senate-passes-safe-sleep-bill-dcf-seeks-to-reduce-deaths/
Channel 8 WFLA - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31hY3iVipP8&index=4&list=PL2_KATj-VN3LzV1g-5SPuN3VS94K81lkB
About Eckerd Kids:
Eckerd Kids is a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Clearwater, Florida, that has given much-needed second chances to more than 168,000 children and families since its founding by Jack and Ruth Eckerd in 1968. Eckerd serves over 18,500 children and their families each year through life-changing child welfare, juvenile justice, workforce development and behavioral health programs in twenty states and the District of Columbia. Eckerd’s mission is to provide and share solutions that promote the well-being of children and families in need of a second chance. To learn more visit www.eckerd.org. Follow us on Twitter at @eckerdyouth and “like” us on Facebook at facebook.com/eckerdyouth
Mindshare Technology is a Tampa Florida based company and since 2004 has been researching and implementing new and improved methods to liberate the facts contained within the data. Mindshare has deployed and currently supports the first operationalized, child welfare focused, predictive models for daily use. Mindshare’s technology solution targets relevant data from State and local systems to isolate key patterns, identify case file irregularities, and improves accountability at all levels. Mindshare’s system is currently tracking more than 18,000 children daily for compliance and safety. Child designees are finally given proactive insight to inject improvements in case management practices at the right time, for the right reasons.
About White Fields:
White Fields is a non-profit organization that cares for boys age 8 to 18 years old who have been severely abused and neglected and are in the permanent custody of the state of Oklahoma. White Fields helps them regain their ability to trust, heal emotionally, broaden relationships and develop into adulthood. The agency’s unique continuum of care model allows boys to progress through various levels of care resulting in the boys living with a foster family on campus, off campus foster family or the ultimate goal of being adopted into a loving forever family.
# # #